There’s a lot of snow on the ground today in central Oklahoma, but the earth is still moving and shaking beneath us.
There have been dozens of recorded earthquakes over the last few days here, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey, including one that registered 3.1 magnitude on the Richter scale.
What seems incredible to me is that Oklahoma is now ranked second in the contiguous United States in the number of earthquakes 3.0 or above magnitude since 2009, according to an EnergyWire story by Mike Soraghan. California is ranked first, of course.
Tornadoes, ice storms, heat waves, blizzards, wildfires, floods and now earthquakes. It’s a bit much even for the most weather-tested Okie.
As I’ve written before, there remains the very real possibility that Oklahoma’s recent earthquake swarm is a manmade phenomenon. Injection disposal wells, used in oil and gas drilling procedures, have been linked to earthquakes here and elsewhere by scientists and researchers. A recent surge in oil and gas production here through hydraulic fracturing or fracking has created a need for more such wells.
But that’s difficult for some Oklahomans to accept, according to Soraghan, who writes:
Linking earthquakes to drilling, though, has been tough to accept for many Oklahomans. While they're not used to earthquakes here, they're quite accustomed to pump jacks and deep injection wells. Oklahoma is dotted with more than 4,500 such wells. Oil and gas is a pillar of the economy and provides a lot of solid paychecks in the state.
Oil and gas production is a major part of the Oklahoma economy, true, but that should never come before the basic welfare and safety of its residents. There has been tepid interest so far among the state’s highest leaders, such as Gov. Mary Fallin, to really launch a major, all-out study of the issue that might lead to new oil and gas drilling regulations.
Unfortunately, it will probably take a major, damaging earthquake to shake the state’s overwhelmingly conservative leaders into action.
The only thing strange about Oklahoma City mayoral candidate and Councilman Ed Shadid talking openly about his long-term recovery from pot addiction is that anyone would think it’s strange in the first place.
Shadid’s continuing honesty about his recovery has been treated by his opponents as part of a pattern of a campaign that seems “strange,” according to a recent post in The McCarville Report blog. Mike McCarville who operates the blog has ties to Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who is running for re-election against Shadid.
That Shadid, a physician who serves Ward 2, is in long-term recovery is no secret for people who know him or have taken time to get to know about him. He also knows that his opponents, as they did when he ran for his council seat, are going to attack him on the issue and depict him as a stoner caricature.
Although it’s a good idea on a political level that Shadid get in front of these attacks, that’s not his point about the honesty and openness. I believe that sincerely. As a physician, Shadid is extremely concerned about the damaging role addiction plays in our culture and the lack of treatment facilities for it in this area. By opening up about his recovery, he helps to create a broader dialogue about addiction, which is widespread in central Oklahoma and affects people of all walks of life. What he’s doing is pretty remarkable.
Shadid recently sent out a mailer that talked about his recovery, and he mentioned it in a speech. He mentioned his recovery to me in a conversation I had with him perhaps two years ago. He’s not trying to hide it. The online Red Dirt Report blog posted an excellent and thorough interview with Shadid about this issue recently.
I won’t get into the issue of whether marijuana is physically addictive or not. The Red Dirt Report interview touches on that subject. I do know if someone is dependent on a drug or alcohol then it’s up to that person to accept if it’s an addiction or not. By accepting it’s an addiction, a person can move into recovery. It’s the basic principle of addiction and recovery.
Another issue Shadid’s opponents bring up on The McCarville Report post is his divorce, as if that is somehow part of some strange political campaign, too. So let’s be clear: Shadid is a divorced person who once smoked pot. I wonder how many people fit that description in Oklahoma City, whatever their political affiliation? Don’t forget Cornett is also divorced and so is the state’s governor, Mary Fallin. At the time of their divorce, Cornett’s then wife, Lisa, told The Oklahoman in 2011, “I still love him and want to stay married. It wasn't a mutual decision.”
In addition, The Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne claimed on stage at a concert in 2011 that Cornett smoked pot, which was reported by The Lost Ogle bog. Was the flamboyant Coyne just joking and playing to the crowd? Can Cornett pass a drug test? I’ll bet that Shadid can.
All these petty suggestions about the two mayoral candidates, and I’ll include my reference to Cornett’s divorce and my previous paragraph in that list, do nothing to create a discussion about the city’s future. Both Shadid and Cornett are just as human as the rest of us.
In the end, though, it’s Shadid’s opponents that are focusing on smear tactics to deflect the campaign away from the issues, such as increasing police and fire protection, making Oklahoma City more walkable and improving the overall health of its residents. Does it show that perhaps Cornett and his supporters have nothing more to offer the city in terms of ideas and initiatives and simply want to make this an ugly election? This strategy backfired against Shadid’s opponents in his council election, and it could backfire again.
State Rep. Lewis Moore, an Arcadia Republican, has publicly weighed in on the overall concept of democracy and finds that, well, it really “means socialism.”
Actually, I’m still trying to figure out what Moore is exactly trying to say in a short philosophical missive he apparently released to some media outlets in recent days. In particular, I wonder about this part of a post titled “Lewis Moore: Our Republic Is Not A Democracy” that appeared on The McCarville Report blog:
The fight is a constant one. When you hear “democracy,” you should think majority-rules versus the rule-of-law. It’s like an Old West posse of 15 riders catching up with a horse thief. A 14-1 decision finds the thief hanging from the nearest tree – majority rules. This in contrast with a 14-1 decision where the Sheriff is holding out for justice and wants the thief hauled back to town, enforcing the rule-of-law.
In short, democracy means socialism, which leads to debt and chaos, and will ultimately usher in an oligarchy (dictator). Never trade liberty for security.
Okay, read that a few times. So is Moore, pictured right, trying to say that democracy means no rule of law, which leads to socialism and that the Sheriff is right to enforce the rule of law? Seriously, what’s the logic here? The rule of law is a vital component of democracy. People vote for laws and elect politicians who vote for laws. There is no clear or set oppositional dichotomy or binary between “majority rules” and “rule of law” when it comes to democracy. They are inextricably linked. They are sometimes in opposition, such as when a court strikes down a law voted for by a majority of a legislature, but not always. It’s a dynamic; it’s fluid.
But the leap from democracy to socialism right after the phrase “in short” is the real head scratcher. Moore certainly hasn’t proven to me through his “Old West” scenario that “democracy means socialism” whether it’s “in short” or in any other manner. Are the posse members voting to hang the horse thief actually socialists? It doesn’t follow. How will that then exactly lead to “debt” and “chaos” and then an oligarchy? Shouldn’t there be more evidence for this huge claim?
I’m unsure if Moore is writing in some type of right-wing code I can’t decipher, but I just don’t follow it. I understand the arguments that the United States is a constitutional republic. Some people even suggest that means our country isn’t also a democracy, even though it’s obviously steeped in democratic principles. Is Moore trying to argue along these lines? He ends the segment this way: “Never trade liberty for security.” How does that relate back to the posse and the Sheriff? Which one represents liberty? Which one represents security? It’s highly problematic on a logical level.
Moore’s entire reference to horse thievery and the Sheriff then eventually seems irrelevant to his overall arguments about states’ rights. And guess what? Moore is in favor of them, and he thinks Oklahoma’s two U.S. senators should each have an office at the state Capitol, arguing “Their loyalty is to the state, first and foremost!” (That’s Moore’s exclamation point, not mine.)
It might help to know that Moore has served as chairperson of the House States’ Right Committee, which deals with supposed federal government intrusion into state affairs. He also once admitted to taking down a portrait of President Barack Obama hanging at the Capitol because he didn’t like the president’s health care initiative.
It might seem like an exercise in futility to parse through some conservative Oklahoma politician’s philosophical statement about democracy, but I worry about how these types of non sequiturs and faulty premises become embedded in our political discourse here in Oklahoma and especially among students. A statement such as “democracy means socialism” coming from a political leader deserves some discussion and a lot more evidence and qualification than Moore provides.
CapitolBeatOK also ran an abbreviated version of Moore’s statement that didn’t include the horse thief story or “democracy means socialism.” That’s interesting, in itself. The site is operated by Patrick McGuigan, who once served as editorial page editor for The Oklahoman, one of the most conservative newspapers in the country.